Volatile fatty acids (VFAs) are chemical building blocks for industries, and are mainly produced via the petrochemical pathway. However, the anaerobic fermentation (AF) process gives a potential alternative to produce these organic acids using renewable resources. For this purpose, waste streams, such as microalgae biomass, might constitute a cost-effective feedstock to obtain VFAs. The present review is intended to summarize the inherent potential of microalgae biomass for VFA production. Different strategies, such as the use of pretreatments to the inoculum and the manipulation of operational conditions (pH, temperature, organic loading rate or hydraulic retention time) to promote VFA production from different microalgae strains, are discussed. Microbial structure analysis using microalgae biomass as a substrate is pointed out in order to further comprehend the roles of bacteria and archaea in the AF process. Finally, VFA applications in different industry fields are reviewed.
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